A middle-aged man finds love amid the wreckage of communism in Frederick’s latest, a quietly effective character study set in an unnamed central European country several years after the fall of a corrupt regime. As the novel opens, Stivan, a translator, is alone and depressed after recovering from an auto accident that left him in a coma for many months. He turns to his former nurse, Anya, for companionship, and though Anya is herself battling breast cancer, their awkward first meeting slowly blossoms into an unlikely romance. Then Anya’s younger brother – a limo driver named Leni-arrives, fleeing Paris after his boss’s girlfriend O.D.s on his watch. Fearing that his boss, a rich thug named Raffi, will have him killed in revenge, Leni hides out with the reluctant Stivan. The translator, meanwhile, faces problems of his own: he takes a part-time job as a church record-keeper only to discover that his employer, the parish priest, is part of a scheme to smuggle illegal immigrants into the fragmented country. Though the narrative slows after Leni’s arrival, Frederick deftly balances the politically charged plot with the danger of Leni’s situation, as well as the revolving romance between Anya and Stivan. The book succeeds as a thoughtful, romantic study of its protagonists largely because of Frederick’s insights into the ways that ordinary people try to live their lives as they navigate the murky politics of a dour, repressed country.–Publishers Weekly
K.C. Frederick’s novels Country of Memory (1998) and The Fourteenth Day (2000) were published by The Permanent Press. His short stories have appeared in many journals, a god number have been cited in the annual collections of Best American Short Stories and Pushcart Prizes and several have been anthologized. In addition to this recognition, his work has won him a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. Born and raised in Detroit, K.C. Frederick lives in the Boston area.